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By Ellis Juhlin and Austin Amestoy, Montana Public Radio

The Big Why logo overlaid on a photo of an open-surface mine near Butte, MT with tailings piled in the foreground.

Austin Amestoy: Welcome to the Big Why, a series from Montana Public Radio, where we find out what we can discover together. I’m your host, Austin. Amestoy. This is a show about listener-powered reporting. We’ll answer questions, large or small, about anything under the Big Sky. By Montanans for Montana, this is the Big Why.

Today, reporter Ellis Juhlin is here to talk about Montanans’ right to a clean and healthful environment. Hey, Ellis.

Ellis Juhlin: Hey, Austin, thanks for having me. And hello from the millionth week of the Legislative Session.

Austin Amestoy: So, Ellis, when you’re not running around the Capitol, you’ve been digging into the language in Montana’s Constitution about the environment. So, tell me a little bit more about that.

Ellis Juhlin: Yeah, so the question that I set out to answer comes to us from Dr. Vicki Watson. She’s a retired professor from the University of Montana, and she spent her career studying aquatic ecosystems.

Vicki Watson: When I came to Montana 40 years ago, I heard from a lot of people how proud Montanans are of their new constitution; all the thought that went into it. That people from both parties and independents — people from all walks of life — had participated in writing the Constitution and that it was adopted with widespread support.


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